The Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University today approved a streamlined and simplified tuition and fee structure, which, coupled with changes to room and board, lowers the published total cost of attendance for new students and lowers tuition costs for returning students for the 2015-16 academic year.
“By making a college degree more affordable for the residents of our state, we hope to make a quality NIU education more accessible for those in the region we serve,” said board chair John R. Butler. “After freezing total costs last year for incoming freshman, to be able to announce a new structure that lowers tuition costs for returning students while dropping the published cost of attendance for new students is a testament to the university’s commitment to affordability, retention and completion.”
The new structure encourages college completion by capping tuition costs for new students at 12 credit hours, meaning that incoming students would pay the same tuition cost if they take 12 credit hours, 15 hours or 18 or more hours. In fact, a new student enrolled in 16 hours will pay about $200 less in tuition in fall 2015 than fall 2014.
The NIU tuition plan also drops the per credit hour rate to $330.45 for every returning student and caps charges at 14 credit hours, again encouraging students to enroll in more classes per semester and allowing them to get greater value.
“A good way to think of this model is like an insurance deductible. Once you reach a certain threshold—14 credit hours for continuing students and 12 hours for new students—you don’t pay anything more,” NIU President Doug Baker said. “We want our students to complete their degrees in four years or less, and by capping tuition costs, we encourage students to take larger course loads and receive greater value while making faster progress towards their degrees.”
NIU is also restructuring the fee mechanism, resulting in a simpler, easier-to-understand bill that is intended to provide more clarity to students and families.
Finally, the elimination of the most costly meal plan results in a drop of the published room and board rate by $800.
”The new tuition and fee structure is great for Northern Illinois University and should enhance retention efforts by reducing the cost of attendance for students who take a full load of classes,” said Student Association Senate Speaker Dillon Domke. “The new plan may also help diversify the student body by allowing students to add variety to their portfolio of the classes without incurring additional costs.”